Historic Hood River
Happy Birthday, Hood River
The folks at City Hall alerted me to a special birthday. 125 years ago tomorrow the City of Hood River’s articles of incorporation were filed with the Oregon Secretary of State. The residents of the town started the process the previous December when they voted (47 in favor, 35 opposed) to petition the Wasco County Court to incorporate. At the same election they selected a mayor, six aldermen, a recorder, a marshal, and a treasurer.
On Monday, February 18, 1895 the Hood River City Council held its first official meeting, at which they adopted four ordinances organizing the city government. And of course it wouldn’t have been a city council meeting without a request for money: Captain Dukes told the council that if they would pitch in $30 towards the new bell for the Congregational Church, they could purchase a heavier bell which could also serve as the new city’s fire bell. No action was taken on the request.
The following month they got down to business enacting laws. The first issue they tackled was creating a requirement that persons with contagious diseases stay in their homes, marking them with flags visible from the street. A green flag indicated diphtheria, yellow indicated small-pox, and red indicated all other contagions. They also prohibited sale of putrid or tainted meat, fish and vegetables, and prohibited leaving decaying animal carcasses in such a condition as to cause or create noisome or offensive odors. They prohibited leaving trash or refuse for more than 12 hours, and required residents to control the odors from their privies. They prohibited discharging firearms (except out of necessity) as well as fireworks, concealed weapons (without a permit from the mayor or marshal) and my favorite, they banned throwing of snow-balls, pebbles, or missiles of any kind at anyone attending to their usual business.
They established a speed limit of eight miles an hour for horses (did horses have speedometers?) and limited speeds at bridges to a walk. They authorized “no hitching” zones for horses (at the discretion of the abutting property owner) and created a curfew of 9 o-clock for unaccompanied persons under the age of 16.
They also prohibited sale or dispensing of liquors or other intoxicants (as well as opium), and prohibited brothels and prostitution. Begging, yelling, whooping or singing in a boisterous or rude manner were also prohibited on the streets of the new city.
I’m not sure how the general populous responded to all these new restrictions, but by the time the next city map was printed in 1902 there were three saloons and a “wine room.”